• Outstanding new world class facilities are now available including a huge new health club, warm water pool, spa and steam area , change rooms and more.
  • New Allied Health Services including Physiotherapy, Dietetics and Remedial Massage now available, see reception for details.

Meet the staff

Our people are the key to our success.

Aquarena has developed its wonderful reputation throughout the Manningham community and the fitness industry as a whole not only because of its standard of facilities and services but also because of the friendliness, skills, experience and knowledge of its dedicated staff team.

Employing over 200 fulltime, part-time and casual staff committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for centre users Aquarena's ongoing success has been largely because of its people. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the dedicated management team.

Group Management Team

Rob Lazzarotti, Group Business and Marketing Manager

Rob has over thirty years experience in the health and fitness industry and currently oversees the marketing, brand strategy and communications for the Manningham YMCA and associated business units. Previously he has spent over ten years as a leading personal trainer, four years as a fitness director and the past fifteen years in marketing / brand management / PR. Rob continues to be focused on building value and equity in the MYMCA and sub business units, and leveraging current and new revenue opportunities that maximize returns for all stakeholders. Rob has presented at leading fitness industry conferences, promoted health and wellness in the media and advised the broader industry nationally on all aspects of health club and business operations that meet customer needs, enhance the brand experience and deliver long term sustainability.

Damien Ear, Group Finance Manager

Damien has been employed with the YMCA since 1988 and was the inaugural finance director for Aquarena. As a result of this consistency, Damien's knowledge and assistance has ensured significant growth in the financial systems necessary to control a business operation that now has a turn over of $4m per annum. With the recent growth and diversification by Manningham YMCA into a range of other business activities. 
Damien is very well respected by both Manningham YMCA personnel and his fellow financial peers as a caring and honest leader who is committed to the mission and values of the YMCA. Married with two children, Damien enjoys a work environment that is centred on community involvement rather than the harshness of the corporate financial sector.

Fiona Miller, Group Administration Manager

Fiona has worked in the health and fitness industry since 1989 and loves the smell of chlorine in the morning. She has worked at Aquarena since the day the centre opened in 1992, starting as a casual receptionist and finds it much easier to speak to people who are wearing bathers or tracksuits rather than suits and heels. Fiona oversees general administration, member billing, customer service and IT. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne, and Bachelor and Master Degrees in Education from Deakin University. In 2002 she completed a Diploma of Recreation and in 2007 she completed the Certified Customer Service Managers Course (Dip. Bus. CCSM).

Fiona is tremendously excited about the current redevelopments at Aquarena and can't wait until they are finished. In her spare time Fiona enjoys reading, binge-watching TV series and sometimes getting lost during street orienteering.

Centre Management Team:

Karen Quinn, Centre Manager

Karen has worked in the fitness industry since 1990 and loves nothing more than seeing customers achieve their health and wellness goals and living a healthy lifestyle.
Beginning as a volunteer at Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre whilst studying, she has worked her way across almost every area of the Health and Fitness business. As a casual employee she worked in roles such as Health Club instructor, Swimming Lesson instructor, Circuit instructor, Customer Service- Reception and Lifeguarding before moving into more senior management roles.  Her extensive experience includes Manager of Ascot Vale Leisure Centre and Centre Director of Eltham Leisure Centre.  Some of her qualifications include a Bachelor of Applied Science- Physical education (VUT), Diploma of Education (VUT), Advanced Certificate in Management (RMIT), Pool Operators Certificate and Competency Based Trainer Level 1- Barton College of Tafe.   With a very real passion for the industry you can often see her working out in the centre and with a love of the outdoors she loves horse riding, camping, water skiing, wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding.  Karen loves the health and fitness industry knowing it can change people's lives and she strives to ensure all customers have fun and the best possible experience whilst at Aquarena.

Darrin Maslen, Programs Director

Darrin has been working in the health and fitness industry since 1999 and joined Aquarena in September 2004 as the Personal Training Co-ordinator. In early 2008 he assumed the role as Health and Fitness Co-ordinator and continued to be actively involved in the Personal Training Program. His educational background included studying Recreation majoring in Sports Coaching and he has also completed over 20 certificate courses related to health and fitness throughout his years in the industry. Darrin has also been a presenter in the fitness industry at a number of training organisations for individuals wishing to commence a career in the fitness industry.  His sporting background has mainly involved basketball which he has been committed to for over 25 years a player where he enjoyed a 10 year career in the Big V basketball league. Darrin currently assumes the role as Aquarena Programs Director where he is committed to providing the community of Manningham with a variety of quality programs to ensure individuals have the opportunity to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Lisa Gates, Operations Director

Lisa is responsible for all operations at Aquarena, including overseeing the management of the lifeguard team and pool.  Lisa has been with the YMCA since 1999 and in this time has gained experience working as an Aquatic Education teacher, Lifeguard and Centre Supervisor.  She also assists our Group Operations Manager in building maintenance, centre cleaning and pool maintenance.  Lisa previously worked in the training department of a major bank. Her passion for health and fitness involves many outdoor sports, including surf lifesaving.

Sandra Menichelli, Support Services Director

Sandra is responsible for all the support services at Aquarena. As the Support Service Director she is responsible for overseeing the management, recruitment, training and supervision of the reception, cafe and childcare teams, as well as overseeing merchandise, member relations and administration. Sandra has been with Manningham YMCA since 2011 and in this time has gained experience working as a Receptionist, Centre Supervisor and Frontline Team Leader. She prides herself on being an inspiring role model for her teams and has created a positive environment where staff are motivated and committed to provide outstanding customer service to Aquarena members and guests. Sandra is currently in her final year of a Nutrition degree at La Trobe University and hopes to one day combine this qualification with her passion for health and fitness to teach people how to live healthier lifestyles. 

Peter Carswell, Head Coach and Aquatic Fitness Team Leader

Peter is responsible for the management of the Squad Coaching Program for the Doncaster Templestowe Swim Club and the training and supervision of the coaching team. He also overseas other Aquatic Fitness Programs at Aquarena including Aquanauts, Oceanauts and Swimfit. Peter has been part of the Australian Swim Team Coaching Staff from 2004-2014 and has travelled to numerous countries with teams including Russia, Turkey, China, England, New Zealand and Hawaii. Over his 27 years of coaching and managing aquatic programs, he has placed swimmers on Olympic World Junior and Commonwealth Games teams. Peter is a believer in the holistic development of athletes where the mind and body are developed to work as one to achieve success.

Bianca Austerberry, Swimming Lessons Team Leader

Bianca, has been swim teaching for the YMCA for 5 years. Whilst enjoying school aged teaching Bianca's main area of experience is with Infant, preschool & additional needs instruction. Prior to becoming a swim teacher Bianca has 15 years office administration experience, including certificates in Office Administration and Book Keeping. Bianca joined Aquarena in April this year, and works closely with Lisa Williams to ensure all participants within the YMCA Swimming Lessons Program at Aquarena are gaining swimming and water safety skills and progressing within the program. By providing support, guidance and advice to teachers, students and families Bianca's goal is to see all participants within the program gain valuable life skills in an Aquatic environment. Its Bianca belief that in order for children to gain swimming and water safety skills they need to want to come to their lessons, it is therefore a key focus that our participants be given a fun, safe and nurturing place to gain their confidence and enjoyment of the water along with their aquatic skills.

Lisa Williams, Schools Aquatic Programs Team Leader

Lisa joined the Aquarena team in January 2011 to take on the role as manager of the YMCA Swimming Lessons Program and is responsible for the management, recruitment, training and supervision of the teaching team. Moving from England in October 2008 and following in her lifelong passion for swimming, Lisa trained and qualified as a Swimming Teacher in March 2009 with emphasis on Infant and Preschool aquatics, which she still teaches within our very successful program. Lisa is also on hand to guide and support all of the Swimming Lessons Teachers, students and their families to ensure high levels of satisfaction and enjoyment within our aquatic environment. Lisa is passionate about swimming and water safety and most importantly giving our students the essential aquatic life skills to enjoy the different aquatic environments they experience throughout their lifetime. Lisa has three children and recognises the importance and value in the experiences available in the program with her own children enrolled who enjoy working their way through the YMCA Swimming Lessons program.

Stela Mitea, Childcare Coordinator

Stela has been the Childcare Co-ordinator at Aquarena since 2003.  She is responsible for the management, recruitment and supervision of all Childcare educators and for providing a safe and high quality education and care program for all children attending our facility.  Stela has worked in childcare for 12 years following completion of her Diploma in Children Services-Childcare. In 2012 Stela qualified for the Bachelor in Early Childhood Studies at Monash University, with the specialisation: Teacher Education: Early Childhood.  Stela has also been appointed as the Primary Nominee at Aquarena Childcare. The Primary Nominee is the main contact with the Department of Education and Early Childhood (DEECD), the Government Department who oversees and audits all childcare facilities in the State. 

Carol Edmeades, Pryme Movers Coordinator

Carol has been employed by the YMCA since 1982 when she began work as a dance instructor. Her focus changed to older adults after realizing the huge need for exercise and education in this growing age group. She has instructed calisthenitcs, jazz dance and group exercise classes for over 48 years now and has had an influence on many people over her rewarding career. Carol overseas the development of all programming and social events for Pryme Movers and mentors all new group fitness instructors who join the team. Her passion is to see the many older adults in Manningham come to realize that exercise in our older adult classes can be heaps of fun while still keeping healthy, vital, independant and well. 

Paul Manuel, Health Club Team Leader

Paul has been employed in the Health Club at Aquarena for over five years and has been in the industry as a fully accredited Gym Instructor/Personal Trainer for numerous years working in various corporate YMCAs in the city as well as his own business. He takes pride in his own health and fitness and loves assisting people in improving their quality of life through exercise. His main sporting background was football in which he began at a very young age and has also completed marathons and triathlons. He is also our boxing circuit Instructor which has seen the class booked out each session.  He is highly motivated in seeing people achieve high standards of fitness. Each session with Paul is different, fun and hard work. His philosophy is "YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH"!  Paul is a very motivated trainer and loves seeing people pushed to their limits!

Kayte Kitchen, Group Exercise Team Leader

Kayte is responsible for the development and promotion of all group exercise programs. She recruits, evaluates and schedules the staff of over 40 instructors. In addition to managing the area, Kayte is a Physical Activity Australia accredited Group Exercise and Fitness Instructor and is currently one of our Pryme program instructors. She has been teaching group exercise classes all over Melbourne since 1995 and her passion for seeing people enjoy the benefits of regular exercise hasn't diminished.

Sonya Nulty, Frontline Team Leader

Sonya started working at Aquarena in February 2008 as a Customer Service Officer, whilst studying a Certificate 4 in Sports Development, and then completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education). During this time, Sonya progressed to a Shift Supervisor and then a Centre Supervisor within the Frontline Team before taking on the Frontline Team Leader position in May 2015. In this role she is responsible for the management, recruitment, training and supervision of the Reception and Centre Supervisor Teams, whilst overseeing member relations and administration. She is committed to not only providing outstanding customer service, but also to building a strong and positive environment within her team. 

Cameron Wynn, Lifeguard Team Leader

Cameron started working at Aquarena in October 2010 as a Summer Pool Lifeguard. He quickly progressed on to become a Senior Lifeguard and then a Shift Supervisor before becoming the Lifeguard Team Leader in August 2016. He is responsible for the management, training and recruiting of the Lifeguard Team. Cameron's commitment to the safety of all Aquarena patrons is paramount and aims to ensure this by creating a positive and dedicated culture within the Lifeguard Team. Outside of work, Cameron enjoys volunteering with the local community as a basketball coach for junior boy's teams as well as perusing his passion in music as a DJ.